HCPS 411 Update

December 3, 2020

Teacher Focus Group Opportunity: Return to In-Person Learning

HCPS, in partnership with the Harford County Education Association (HCEA), is seeking teachers who would like to participate in a focus group, facilitated by other teachers, to share ideas for what the HCPS return to in-person learning could possibly look like. Your voice matters, and we value your input as we continue planning for the future.

If you are a teacher interested in this opportunity, please complete a short form using the following link: Focus Group Sign Up Survey. Please complete the form to indicate your interest by December 10, 2020.

In addition, teachers may submit the names of middle and/or high school students who may be interested in participating in a virtual student focus group. This focus group will also be facilitated by teachers. We are looking for students who represent varying ability levels, as well as our demographics and programs throughout the school system. If you know of a student who should be considered for this role, you may indicate that on the sign up form.

The form may be used for a teacher to sign up for the focus group (questions 1-3) and/or for a teacher to recommend a student (question 4). Not all questions require a response to submit the form. A teacher may complete only questions 1-3 to sign themselves up, only question 4 to provide a student name for the separate student focus group, or all the questions if they want to participate and know a student to recommend.

2020-2021 Salary Notification Available on Employee Self Service

Annual salary letters for all HCPS employees are available for immediate review through Employee Self Service (ESS). For security purposes, ESS can only be accessed from an HCPS device or through HCPS VPN. For issues accessing ESS, please review the Employee Self Service Overview and Reference information or contact the Help Desk at 410-588-5242 for assistance. Upon clicking on “My Salary Letters” within ESS, you will be prompted to enter a password so that you can receive future salary letters via email.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to hris@hcps.org or 410-588-5225.

Student Self Care Campaign

This week, the Office of Student Support Services and the Emotional Recovery Team launched the Student Self Care Campaign by releasing the video linked below. This video focuses on students sharing their self care activities and tips. The goal of this campaign is to promote the importance of self care and highlight ways for students to engage in self care, especially during this time of increased screen time with virtual learning.

Please continue to share this video with HCPS students.

Stay tuned for more information on another video, Social and Emotional Health: A Student Discussion, that will be released on December 23.

IRL Self Care Student Voice Kickoff

Parent Academy: Bedtime Routines for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Learn from our HCPS Early Childhood experts as they share about the importance of consistent bedtime routines on the growth and development of our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers in the most recent Parent Academy Real Talk.

Parent Academy: Bedtime Routines for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

2021 HCPS Teacher of the Year - Nominate Someone Today!

This year will mark the 27th anniversary of the Harford County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year banquet program. Harford County’s Teacher of the Year holds a prominent position as the county’s education spokesperson and is the county’s candidate for Maryland Teacher of the Year. Nominations may be self-submitted or submitted by administrators, colleagues, students, parents, or others.

Please take the time to nominate that special teacher in your life who is truly a shining star with HCPS and worthy of this honor. This award is not only an amazing experience for the winning teacher, but for his/her students and the entire school community.


If you or your teacher have any questions about the nomination process, completing the online application, or the Teacher of the Year program, please contact Christina Paquette in the Office of Communications and Family Outreach at Christina.Paquette@hcps.org.

HCPS 2021 Teacher of the Year Applications


"Thank you to HCPS teachers and staff who submitted quotes, short videos, poetry, photographs and other visual art from the Fall Cultural Proficiency Professional Learning course. When we lead with love, we continue to align our stance to conquer racism, implicit bias, and discrimination. #leadwithlove"

-Office of Equity & Cultural Proficiency

Join HCPS staff and share your message with #leadwithlove!
Leadwithlove 12-2-2020

CareFirst December Wellness Announcements

December 2020 Wellness News – Holiday Stress: The holidays can be a difficult time of year especially this year due to the added stress of COVID-19. Whether you struggle with depression, disagreements with family members, fear of missing out, or even holiday blues, there are ways to make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable this year. Click here to learn more way to manage stress this holiday season.

‘Tis the Season to be Healthy: The season to be jolly is here – and with it are plenty of reasons to veer off track from exercise and healthy eating. Click here to try these tips to stay motivated!

Grilled Apple Pecan Cups: Click here for this delicious recipe.

KEPRO Employee Assistance Program

Being Grateful: Know Your Strengths

The December 2020 KEPRO Employee Assistance Program (EAP) communication resources are here! What are your top strengths? Being confident in knowing what you are good at helps you approach situations with a strength mindset, enabling you to respond more creatively to challenges.

Monthly Online Seminar Title: Know Your Strengths

Description: Explore how confidence and a strengths-mindset can enable you to respond more creatively to challenges.

Date: Available on demand beginning December 15, 2020

Broadcast Length: 50 Minutes

How to Access: Go to your EAP web site: www.EAPHelpLink.com. Enter your code: HCPS, and look for Online Seminars in the lower right-hand corner of this homepage, or you can search for them by title.

Available anytime, any day, the EAP is a free, confidential program to help you balance your work, family, and personal life.

Call them toll-free at 1-866-795-5701 or visit them online at www.EAPHelpLink.com.

Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Pre-Retirement Webinar

If you were not able to attend a previous HCPS pre-retirement webinar, the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), is holding webinars for members who are within eight (8) years of retirement.

These webinars will cover the following topics:

  • The Maryland State Retirement and Pension System,
  • Legal Issues,
  • Social Security and Benefits, and
  • Financial Planning.

A webinar is scheduled for Thursday, December 17, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

To register:

1. Visit the website http://www.ccbcmd.edu/ceed-preretirement-county

2. Under the headline, How to Register, click the Register Online link.

3. Click the Select button next to the course titled "Pre-Retirement Webinar," towards the bottom of the screen.

4. Scroll back to the top of the screen to click on the button, Register for Selected Courses.

5. If you are not already logged in, you will be redirected to the login page.

a. If you have previously attended a Pre-Retirement Seminar or other class at CCBC, log in using your current username and password. Not sure what your username and password are? You can call CCBC at (443) 840-5059.

b. If this is your first Pre-Retirement Seminar, choose "New Account" on the right-hand side of the screen. Fill out your information (anything in red is required information) and choose Submit.

6. After you have registered for your seminar, choose "Finalize Selection" and print your confirmation. You should receive an email confirmation of your registration within three (3) business days.

As the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, through CCBC, schedules more webinar dates, those dates will also be posted in the weekly HCPS 411 Update for interested individuals. If you are unable to attend an event but are interested in learning more, a shorter presentation about the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System is available on the Maryland State Retirement Agency website.

If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth Miller, Coordinator of Benefits, at Elizabeth.Miller@hcps.org.

Professional Development Announcements

Continuity of Learning

MSDE has approved a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) experience to award educators credits for implementing the Local School System (LSS) Continuity of Learning Plan for the 2020-2021 school year, available only to educators required to hold a certificate per COMAR 13A.12.01.03B for renewal of a certificate. The identified staff include classroom and special area teachers, specialists, administrators, and supervisors currently employed in a position in which they are required to hold a MSDE certificate.

Additional information on obtaining credit will be available in the December 10 HCPS 411 Update.

Question or concerns may be emailed to: HCPSProfessionallearning@hcps.org.

Harford Community College

Do you need credits to meet teacher certification requirements? Harford Community College (HCC) offers courses for teachers. This spring, consider taking EDUC210: Children with Behavioral Challenges or EDUC219: Everyday Classroom Assessment to sharpen your skills. HCC also offers courses for paraeducators and provisionally certified teachers. For more information, contact Laura Hutton at lhutton@harford.edu.

American College of Education

American College of Education (ACE) wants to make the holidays a little brighter by giving away 15 Amazon gift cards worth $250 each!

From now to December 16, individuals from the many valued organizations ACE had the privilege of working with in 2020 can enter the gift card drawing by filling out a short form at https://www.ace.edu/raffles/holiday-partner-giveaway. There is no purchase necessary. ACE will notify the winners of the 15 gift cards on December 18 – just in time for last-minute shopping!

From the entire ACE team: Have a happy and healthy holiday season and we look forward to sharing 2021 with you!

Lauryn’s Law Course EDGC 822 Lauryn’s Law: School Counselor Response to Indicators of Mental Illness and Behavioral Distress

This course meets the educational requirements outlined in Lauryn’s Law. Specifically, this course enhances the school counseling practitioners’ knowledge and skills to understand and respond to the social, emotional, and personal development of students, including knowledge and skills relating to: (1) the recognition of indicators of mental illness and behavioral distress, including depression, trauma, violence, youth suicide, and substance abuse; and (2) the identification of professional resources to help students in crisis.

This course for school counselors provides a current, interactive overview of these skills and supports participants’ development/acquisition of a resource bank for distribution to parents or guardians, school staff, and students, as appropriate.

Cost: $350. Tuition must be paid in full at the time of registration.

Spring 2021 Session: Fully online February 15 - March 22, 2021

Summer 2021 Session: Fully online June 7 - July 12, 2021

To learn more and register: loyola.edu/laurynslaw. For more info contact: educationdean1@loyola.edu or Kay.Malone@hcps.org.

Shout Outs!

"A huge shout out to Anita Taylor, special educator at Fallston Middle. Anita works so hard for her students. She is a true champion for students in all that she does. Anita is always taking that extra step and is always volunteering to do more to help her students. She is a true joy to work with (even if you she isn't on your team) and she is just an amazing human in general. Thank you, Anita, for bringing smiles to all those that you work with and for being such a fabulous support for your students. You are a treasure to HCPS."

-Regina Abel, Social Studies Teacher, Fallston Middle School

Office of Communications and Family Outreach

Editor: Lindsay Bilodeau, communications specialist

To submit an HCPS Shout Out or recognize a colleague in the Spotlight on Customer Service, please email the information and photo (if available) to HCPS.411@hcps.org.